No attention grabbing players. Sad to see Calgary boy Thomas Spoletini get cut. I have to think he’ll be able to find work at Spolumbos Fine Foods and Deli.
Calgary's biggest name on their cutting board is Martel Mallet. He was hurt for most of camp. I wonder if he gets an opportunity once he gets healthy with a team with either underperforming running backs or injury.
Kevin Dixon, DL, had a very bright future two years ago, and then he tore his ACL and it doesn’t appear that he was able to recover from.
Yannick Morin-Plante was also released and I suspect it was mostly due to the fact that Calgary had too many good Canadian receivers. I suspect he’ll get another opportunity. The Stampeders liked him enough to keep him around all last summer (before returning to school) and bring him back to his second training camp. He must have something to offer.
Hugh Charles was let go and heading into his seventh year, the running back reportedly signed a big contract in the off-season so this was a bit of a surprise. Personally, I feel he has been a below average starting running back throughout his career, and if the Eskimos want to improve, they can’t settle for a player that is unlikely to show much improvement given his age. As a backup/change of pace player/returner, there could be a spot for him somewhere in this league, but if the salary reports are true, he’ll have to take a pay cut to accept that role. I think most teams would rather their backup be a young developing guy with a shot at starting one day, but injuries could change that thinking.
Gord Hinse, heading into his sixth season with the Eskimos, was a bit of a surprise. He started 2013 as the starting centre, but lost the job as the season went on. The local product has had several injuries throughout his career which may have played a role in his release.
The Riders have 48 listed on their roster, when in reality they are only allowed to have 46. They have already announced their injured lists, and five of the spots on their practice roster. It is reasonable to assume that two of the guys on their listed roster are destined for the practice roster. I assume that all of their announced cuts are players that the team is moving on from.
The players of note start with Canadian receivers Jordan Sisco, #8 overall pick in the 2010 draft and Jade Etienne, #4 overall pick in the 2011 CFL draft. Both have been underwhelming in their careers to date. Sisco has nine catches in four years while Etienne has 20 catches in three years. Both players went to university in Saskatchewan, but they just didn’t show enough to continue their careers. I suspect both are at the end of the line.
The Riders also released several other recently drafted players. These include WR Alex Anthony (5th round 2013), WR Kristopher Bastien (3rd round 2014), LB Travis Bent (6th round 2014), K John Mark (3rd round 2014), OL Kyle Patterson (5th round 2014), LB Kevin Regimbald (5th round 2012), OL Matt Vonk (5th round 2013), and DB Matt Webster (5th round in 2014). Even though I recognize the possibility that some of these picks could return after going back to school for a year, it still seems like a lot of failed former draft picks.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers:
The most surprising move the Bombers made was releasing QB Max Hall, who started several games for the Bombers last year and could have offered some experience at the backup position. Instead the Bombers elect to go with two raw rookies. The other surprise happened earlier in camp when they released 2012 #3 overall draft pick Tyson Pencer, who they had traded up in the draft to acquire.
Two players of note wound up being released. Evan McCollough was headed into his fifth year and started in Hamilton last season. Demetrice Morley was headed into his fourth season in the CFL and looked to have a very promising career as a rookie, but after being released by his third team in less than twelve months, his career is likely over.
The biggest name among the Argos cuts is Romby Bryant. He was headed into his seventh season and was a two time 1000+ yard receiver. However, his release is not really that surprising. Two years ago, the Stampeders elected not to re-sign him due to declining play and last season he was hurt most of the year.
For Ottawa, first round expansion draft pick from Saskatchewan OL James Lee was released. Also, K Justin Palardy who was headed into his fourth CFL season was shown the door.
The biggest cut of the day comes out of Montreal where four time All Star and former Grey Cup MVP WR Jamel Richardson was released. He missed the 2013 season due to a knee injury. I suggested that he wouldn't get protected in the expansion draft and people thought I was crazy. He has undeniable talent, but with lots of injuries and a big salary led to his release. If he can get healthy, he will get another opportunity. A team like Ottawa could really use a legitimate star receiver to feature in their young offense. However, the fact that Montreal is prepared to move on without him may mean that they believe he will not be able to come back from his injury. (Late note: TSN is reporting that Richardson is expected to sign in Toronto.)
Diamond Ferri, headed into his eighth season was also released, which wasn’t too surprising as he had previously been released by Saskatchewan earlier in the year, and in 2012 by the Als.
That’s the round up. I suspect that there will be some more juggling and a few more players released that are currently on injured lists as teams look to get some value out of good players who are unable to crack their roster. Due to the new CFL rule where players placed on the six game injured list cannot practice for the first four weeks, there will be far fewer players stashed on injured lists for developmental purposes. If I missed anyone who deserves a mention, please be sure to let me know.